Broadway Market Developer Buys Henry's Site For Apartment Project


Henry's Off Broadway, which closed at the start of the year because of a lack of business, has been sold to a developer who intends to build apartments at the site.

The new owner, Val Thomas, who developed Broadway Market, has until Sept. 1 to decide whether he wants to complete the purchase of the Henry's site, according to Bill Schwartz, president of Schwartz Brothers Restaurants.

Schwartz Brothers founded Henry's in 1977, sold it in 1989 to New York-based restaurateurs and reassumed ownership this year, after the restaurant closed and the New York owners couldn't continue making payments. The restaurant went bankrupt last summer, at which time the New York owners reorganized but never recovered.

Henry's closed within days of two other established, upscale downtown restaurants: The Mirabeau, located at the top of 1001 Fourth Avenue Plaza, and The Other Place, just off First Avenue.

Schwartz said Thomas intends to build an apartment complex with 70 or 80 units. If Thomas lets the Sept. 1 deadline pass without backing out of the deal, Schwartz said construction on the apartment building might still be a year or more away. Thomas could not be reached for comment.

Meantime, the restaurant is being used for private parties and catering, said Schwartz.

Schwartz wouldn't disclose the sale price. But the city has assessed the property at $1.4 million, believed to be close to the selling price.

The equipment and furnishings in the restaurant remain Schwartz's property.

Schwartz said several prospective buyers considered reopening Henry's but, ultimately, couldn't work out deals. He said Thomas has considered reopening the restaurant, but probably won't.

"The economics of the deal make it pretty hard for him to keep the restaurant," said Schwartz.

Separately, another well-known Seattle restaurant that closed earlier this year, the Lake Union Cafe, is close to being sold, according to the owners of the restaurant. Roger Gardner, vice president of LUC Hospitality Inc., the Japanese business that owns the restaurant, said the sale was supposed to close July 1 but has been postponed until later this summer. Gardner would not identify the prospective buyer. Lake Union Cafe closed May 25.

LUC Hospitality is owned by Sal Nishii. Gardner said LUC is negotiating to buy a another Seattle restaurant while it is selling the Lake Union Cafe; he declined to say what restaurant the company is looking to buy.